The Ottawa Senators and Chicago Blackhawks have nearly identical records with 17 games remaining, though the makeup of their respective division and conference races has one team riding high and the other feeling desperate.
Ottawa seeks its seventh victory in eight tries Friday night when it hosts Chicago, which is fighting to keep its grasp on a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The Senators (34-23-8) are making a run at the Northeast Division crown, pulling closer with a 1-0 win over first-place Boston on Tuesday.
Erik Karlsson scored to give him seven goals and 11 assists during an eight-game point streak, and Jason Spezza had an assist to give him 13 along with eight goals during a 10-game streak.
The Senators have gone 7-1-1 after a potentially damaging seven-game skid Jan. 21-Feb. 7, and are feeling good about their chances to win the division and succeed in the postseason.
However, coach Paul MacLean said his squad is looking to improve its position.
"Yes, we're h...